THANE: Five persons, including two women, arrested for allegedly selling a newborn child have been granted bail by a local court.
Shabana Sheikh (25) from Mumbra township in Thane was arrested by the city police's Child Protection Unit last month for allegedly selling her 10-day-old son for Rs 10,000. The buyer wanted to 'gift' the infant to his married niece in Uttar Pradesh's Bijnor town.
The woman, who is divorced and has a child from her earlier marriage, had after arrest confessed to have sold her child, born on September 1, to avoid social stigma as the baby was born out of wedlock, and also to avoid financial burden.
She decided to part with the child and discussed the matter with an auto driver - Hasnayan alias Munnabhai Shaikh.
Shaikh told her they would get a handsome amount if they sold the infant. He apparently introduced the woman to Rabodi residents Sahana Usmani and Kalim Hussain, who offered to purchase the newborn for Rs 10,000.
On a tip-off about the deal, the police nabbed Shabana and her sister Rizwana Sheikh (also accused of assisting in the crime) and brought them to the police station for questioning. The police also picked up Usmani, who said he had taken the infant as a gift to his niece in Bijnor.
Later, Munnabhai Shaikh and Kalim Hussain, who assisted in the sale of the baby, were also arrested. A case under section 370 (buying or disposing of any person as a slave) of IPC was registered against the five persons by Rabodi police who investigated the crime.
The counsels of the accused in their submissions told the court that they were seeking bail as the offence does not not fall under IPC section 370 and that the prosecution had wrongly applied it as their clients did not not use any kind of force, exploitation, threat or fraud in selling the child.
After hearing the counsels, Thane District and Sessions Judge Ms U V Nandeshwar on Monday ordered the release of the five on a surety of Rs 30,000 each and attendance every Sunday at Rabodi Police Station.